Ansell Garden Centre opens to customers just five days after it was destroyed by fire
Less than a week after it was destroyed by a massive blaze, Ansell Garden Centre re-opened for business. Customers were allowed in from 10.30am and 3pm on Friday and afterwards managing director Paresh Raithatha spoke to GTN Xtra about the amazing response they’d had from both the garden industry and customers.
“It has been immense,” said Paresh. “The kind words have kept us going through some dark times over the past week. On Facebook alone we’ve received 50,000 messages.
“This level of support gave us the push we needed to get back on our feet and rebuild this business. We face a long road ahead but we’ll be back. And we’re determined to make the garden centre even better than before.”
The garden centre was gutted by fire last weekend when a huge fire broke out at 4.30pm on Sunday. It took around 100 firefighters more than five hours to bring the flames under control, with huge plumes of smoke seen in the sky from miles around.
The Ansell team were so eager to get back on the road to recovery that they decided to open up on Friday, alerting customers to the fact via social media, tweeting “please let as many as possible know. Will be nice to see friendly faces.”
Paresh told GTN Xtra: “Everything inside the garden centre was destroyed but we were still able to offer our customers the chance to buy plants, compost and containers.
“A good number of people turned up and they were pleased to see us trading again so soon.
“We are taking a delivery of 500 Christmas trees on Sunday and they’ll be on sale from Monday onwards.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us but seeing the response from our customers today makes us even more determined.
“We’ve already started planning for the future and our aim is to get phase one of the rebuilding process complete by next Easter. That will give us the platform to restore Ansell Garden Centre to its former glory…but I promise it will be even better.”
To get some sense of how people have helped Paresh and his team face up to this awful blaze, here’s an extract from the Ansell Garden Centre Facebook page…
“We have been touched by all the kind words and support that you all have offered, from our family, friends, customers, suppliers, residents and our staff both new and old who have become part of our family.
“You all have given us the courage to move forward. We will hopefully see your smiles in the very near future and will keep you updated as much as we can.
“With some hope, we stay strong, we fight, we move forward.”